The New Normal: McCain's Desperate Ad Hours

Posted by: David Kiley on July 28, 2008

Please see my blog entry [“No Conversations”: McCain Troops Ad] to go with this original post:


The McCain campaign had adopted an ad strategy that has been dubbed “desperate” by Time Magazine political columnist Joe Klein. Klein was writing in response to this latest ad from McCain’s new ad/communications honcho Steve Schmidt.

Klein writes that a candidate airs this ad only if: “1. You’re desperate. 2. Your Middle East policy has been superseded by events and abandoned by your allies. 3. You apparently have nothing substantive to say about America’s future role in the region and the world.”

“If you watched both Obama and McCain on the morning shows today, you saw one candidate who was at ease, confident but not flawless (Obama’s answer on the Surge still seems too grudging), and another who was tense and almost entirely negative. There used to be another John McCain—charming, open, unpredictable. I wonder where he went; the McCain who appeared on the air today seemed too much a scold, too little a statesman.”

Obama’s cancellation of a visit in Germany to visit wounded U.S. troops has been adequately explained: that his campaign was advised by the Pentagon that since Obama was on a campaign trip and spending campaign resources, it would be viewed as using the wounded as props whether cameras were allowed in the hospital or not.

This ad asserts a McCain campaign talking-point that Obama wouldn’t make time for wounded troops unless cameras were allowed to follow him, but did make time to work out at a gym. This, of course, is a lie. It’s a blatant lie. Steve Schmidt, a disciple of Karl Rove’s who worked on George W. Bush’s 2004 ad/communications effort, though, is playing the Rovian playbook that says that it doesn’t matter if it’s true as long as your target audience (non-college educated white working class voters) won’t bother to find out the actual truth, and believe that it “sounds like it might be a true.”

For the second time in a week the non-partisan www.factcheck.org takes McCain to task for a false ad [false, btw, is another word for lie].

And USA Today wrote an editorial about last week’s ad scam from McCain, blaming Obama for higher gas prices. The paper wrote: “Even by the elastic standards of political ads, this is more than a stretch. It’s baloney. It’s also a marker on the path toward the kind of simplistic, counterproductive demonizing that many expect will poison the fall campaign.”

What the McCain campaign doesn’t want people to know, according to one GOP strategist I spoke with over the weekend, is that they had an ad script ready to go if Obama had visited the wounded troops saying that Obama was...wait for it...using wounded troops as campaign props. So, no matter which way Obama turned, McCain had an Obama bashing ad ready to launch. I guess that’s political hardball. But another word for it is the one word that most politicians are loathe to use about their opponents—a lie.

This is what some people are calling the Hannity strategy. Right wing nut-muffin Sean Hannity employs a slick strategy of repeating canards very quickly over and over, day in and day out, which aren’t challenged by his TV co-host Alan Colmes or by any of his radio listeners. By relentlessly repeating falsehoods day after day, the theory goes, it becomes embedded in the media. There is truth in this. In 2004, the Bush campaign ran an ad and daily repeated that John Kerry was a flip flopper, running a Kerry clip with the Democratic candidate saying he voted for an $87 billion military appropriation before he voted against it. It sounded bad when ripped out of context. Kerry voted for it in committee, and then voted against in on a floor vote when the bill included giveaways to Halliburton he didn’t support.

The distortion took on a life of its own, parroted by mainstream media including Chris Matthews, and even the Tom Brokaw and the late Tim Russert. It is a case study in how effective advertising can work when it is done relentlessly and consistently…even if its untrue. Hannity enployed the same strategy conflating a passing acquaintance between Obama and former unconvicted Weather Underground activist William Ayers with "an association" with Obama...for months. He talked it up every day. He finally goaded ABC's George Stephanopoulus to ask Obama about it in a televised debate. It didn't matter that Obama has nothing that could be construed by a thinking person like "an association" with Ayers. He raised the question just by repeating it daily.

Welcome to the new McCain cum Schmidt cum Rove campaign.

I've written good things about McCain's ads in the past, and I expect I will again if they ever return to a level of at least being for grown-ups.

By the way, lest Hannity try and pretend that he isn’t a tool of virtually any GOP campaign, it’s worth noting that he echoed almost point for point the actual daily McCain campaign talking points on Obama's trip last Friday night, including his “takeaway from the Obama trip” that he had time to work out in a gym but not visit the troops in the hospital. Hannity went into the tank again the same night that former White House press secretary Scott McClellan told MSNBC’s Chris Matthews that the White House does, in fact, provide Hannity and other Fox News and on-air talent their daily and weekly policy “talking points.” We knew that, but it’s nice to hear someone admit it who was in on the transaction.

Reader Comments

anne

July 29, 2008 12:35 AM

I really believed John McCain when he said he intended to run a civil campaign, that he intended to focus on the issues. I was a fool.

McCain is losing the one thing that distinguished him and provided him with an opportunity to defeat Obama: his integrity. Now that he's shrugged that off in favor of flailing around in the mud, the other characteristics that we were willing to overlook suddenly seem that much more difficult to ignore.

COL. A.M.Khajawall [Ret]

July 29, 2008 1:22 PM

GOP, RNC,Partisan media,pundits, and Hon. senator Mccain have used the general media to make this election about Obama rather than McCain who has real bad temper and senior moments. Press should look at the issues facing us domestically and globally. Do not promote by default Hon. Senator McCain. He and his temper and cognative abilities are the real issues.

With regards.

COL. A.M.Khajawall [Ret]
Forensic psychiatrist.

Seattle

July 29, 2008 1:23 PM

Go McCain Attack! If the wimp can not stand a few negative ads then he should not be running for President.

McCain/Fiorina 08!

BT

July 29, 2008 1:27 PM

How is the ad a lie?

He went to the gym. He didn't visit wounded troops.

Reportedly, the problem is that this is a campaign trip? This simply suggests that he should have done his duty as a Senator to personally inspect the conditions on the ground before he began to campaign.

Additionally, he didn't need to make that part of his trip part of the campaign. Just as he disappered in the gym he could have taken a few hours and been outside the public eye with wounded US soldiers.

He chose not to do so. Stating that he didn't doesn't seem all that unfair to me.

Scanley

July 29, 2008 1:29 PM

I was a McCain supporter until the last few weeks. I can't even listen to this man anymore he's such a disappointment and, dare I say it, a liar.

Shame on him and the way he's running this campaign.

Deji Oloruntoba

July 29, 2008 1:47 PM

There used to be a time when McCain tell it like it is.That was many centuries ago. I wonder where that McCain is now.

Mark in Florida

July 29, 2008 1:48 PM

Good blog post. I am a huge Obama supporter, and normally this type of ad would upset me, however it does not even pass the laugh test.

McSAME is looking desperate, negative, cranky and out of touch. It is my hope that the public does not buy into these "truthiness" tactic that has been spearheaded by fox et al.

Well said.

I did have some respect for McCain before, even though I am an Obama supporter, however McCain's latest rants and downright lies have me void of any respect I had for the man.

PJ

July 29, 2008 2:36 PM

And angry old John McCain forgot his promise to run a clean campaign.

KChicago

July 29, 2008 2:53 PM

He did and is still running a civil campaign... the facts are still facts. obama didn't visit the troops. Take out ALL these political BS ... and look at it from the point of a civilian. You know for a fact that the Pentagon allows Obama to go as a Senator, not as a candidate. He has visited other wounded troups w/out his camera men, knowing the rules, why wouldn't he make time for the ones in Germany. Just b/c you've visited the others... how does it give you the right not to visit the one in the country you've just made a speech to (in front of Germans... not U.S. wounded citizens).

If you've heard it first hand before the politics from both sides, and given the facts... how is it acceptable to NOT visit our wounded soldiers. As a regular plain Jane of the U.S... if I had the means, I would visit... as I am sure you, Anne, would make the time to visit too.

the writer to this article sounds angry as heck... he sounds like his face is all red and it's about to explode. chill.

NinaK

July 29, 2008 3:07 PM

John McCain did state he would run a civil campaign against Senator Obama; he also stated he would not attack Senator Obama while he was touring overseas. McCain has totally ignored his high-road statements and reduced himself to taking the lowest of low roads. Am I disappointed? NO, McCain is the typical Republican mudslinger; and if there is not mud, he makes up his own batch. We are seeing him doing this in fully slanderous and untrue claims about the good senator from Illinois. McCain KNOWS he (McCain) is a very flawed candidate and he keeps pointing the finger at Senator Obama, never realizing that while he points his finger at and lies about his opponent, he is pointing THREE fingers at himself. His message is: "Do not look at me, look over there, look at Obama, this is what I think of him. John McCain, we are looking at Obama, we have been looking at him and listening to him for almost two years, and guess what? We absolutely like what he has to offer our country----moving us forward and AWAY from the likes of you!! New Politics, New Policies, and a much better economy and a successful country both at home and overseas. YOU, John McCain, have NOTHING to offer except slandering, mocking, degrading, and besmirching your opponent!! Is all of this supposed to make YOU the BEST candidate??

John H

July 29, 2008 7:33 PM

I too once had some respect for McCain, but he has decided, or someone has decided for him, that he cannot run the civil campaign he promised. Numerous press members who were traveling with the Obama campaign say they were never intended to come on this visit. Andrea Mitchell calls the claim the Obama cancelled the trip because he couldn't bring cameras and outright lie. McCain and company know this ad is false and yet they run it and attempt to stand by it. Yes this might help McCain a wee bit in the short run, but it paints him as a hypocrit and the same sort of mudslinger politician as Bush Jr. Where is there any honor in attempting to win by outright lies?

Jay

July 29, 2008 8:20 PM

It's hard to listen to McCain these days. And it's sad to watch him self-destruct before our very eyes. With each serious gafee, prevarication and over-the-line negative attack, McCain demonstrates that he lacks the vision, knowledge, judgment and temperament to be president of the United States. Regrettably, with nothing positive to offer our nation, he has abandoned his pledge to run a civil campaign based on the issues and has resorted to the kind of intense personal attacks and smears that Bush and Rove used against him eight years ago. But it won't work this time. McCain deserves to lose, and he will -- big time.

Mary Lee

July 29, 2008 10:52 PM

There really are people that believe the stuff they are fed in these dishonest ads. That is why they do them. The facts are, as attested by ALL the press that was with Obama, that they were NEVER going to cover the hospital visit. They were not invited, in fact they were told that they would not be covering the visit, just like the hospitals that he visited in Iraq and Afghanistan! The campaign had to make a call when it was obvious that this visit, no matter what, was going to be viewed as a political maneuver. He called the troops in the hospital instead, as he did not want these wounded soldiers to be used as a political attack.

Here is the report with the truth by factcheck.org.

http://www.factcheck.org/elections-2008/snubbing_wounded_troops.html

Obama was either going to be accused of exploiting wounded soldiers or not caring about them. There was no other outcome, no matter what he did. Rove tactics at their slimiest.

Westmiller

July 30, 2008 2:13 AM

Of course, I lie is an *intentional* falsehood. Fortunately for McCain, he can claim gross ignorance of almost any fact about anything.
What would be delicious is to get a purloined copy [or even a mock-up LIE] of what he would [might have] said in the event Obama had visited the hospital. Maybe that's some fodder for The Onion.

Rexblade

July 30, 2008 7:28 AM

K.C.Chicago are you trying to earn "McCain points" what can you get with those anyway? How many pro McCain comments does it take to get an ipod?
I have yet to hear about how Obama was previously attacked for not visiting Iraq/Afghanistan by the McCain campaign and then he does and they complained the whole time.
Im not even an Obama supporter but I think the irony/hypocrisy is getting kinda pretty blatant. McCain will use every dirty Rovian tactic in the book so I really think we should be afraid. He already has his name inserted in the hacked diebold memory cards anyway. Obama sounds good but neither of them talk about monetary policy, an end to policing the world and a non-interventionist foreign policy not pandering just to get votes from this or that group reminds me they are both puppets of the status quo

Robert S.

July 30, 2008 10:33 AM

I stopped listening to all the nonsense months ago. I look at it this way. When hear Obama speak, I feel like I am listening to John F. Kennedy or Martin Luther King, Jr talking. I am filled with hope.

When I hear McCain speak I hear a bitter, grumpy old man who wants 4 more years of the same mess and thinks the world revolves around the U.S.

COL. A. M . khajawall [Ret]

July 30, 2008 10:35 AM

Dear American Citizens and the Press

As a concerned citizen, I consider it is my duty to bring following message to you all.

"We the citizens of the United States of America have the ultimate responsibility to elect the " Right Candidate" to lead our nation, out of our huge present and future internal and external challenges as well as opportunities. This is to prevent depression and isolation in-spite of being the only superpower in the world morally, democratically, economically, and militarily.

We need to consider the "critical qualities and characteristics" of our presumptive presidential nominees at the time we vote.

In my personal and professional opinion the critical considerations are as under:


1. Calm, cool, and collected " temper " [ Presidential Temperament ].
2. Sound and sustained "Judgment and Caliber".
3. "Thought-fullness and togetherness" of purpose and positions.
4. Minimum "ex-poser and exploitation" around "Washington and Washington insiders".
5. Renewed " Vigor and Vision " for our Greatgrand Nation.
6. Foreign policy based on " American Values, Virtuous, Vastness".

Stay informed, stay involved, and stay engaged. Do not allow some partisan media, pundits, pollsters, and perpetual political opinion makers effect your vote in the wrong direction.

Don't be effected and duped by "Psychological Terrorism" that is directed at common American people without their full consent and awareness.

Long live U.S.A and its diverse but democratic people.

Col. A.M. Khajawall [Ret] MD., ABFM., ABDA.
Chief Consultant: World Wide Porfessional Consultants[WWPC]
Colonel, USAR/MC Combat Stress Control[Ret], Disabled American Veteran and Freedom team.
Consultant Psychiatrist: CA State, Medical Board of California, and Los Angeles Mental Health Department
Address: 7642 Eaglehelm Court Las Vegas NV 89123

RR/FL

July 30, 2008 10:44 AM

Obama is the Milli Vanilla of the political set. He is a manufactured product of Soros, moveon.org, the media and the DNC. His every move is carefully choreographed to give the impression of a 'real' candidate. He is as phony as a three-dollar bill. He will say/do anything to get elected, while the media swoons over his every word and spins his gaffes faster than a Maytag washing machine. Old fashioned honor and dignity cannot win out over this manufactured snake-oil salesman. Focusing on his voting record (or lack thereof), highlighting his constant flip-flops, reviewing his unsavory associations, pointing out his lack of experience and his highjacking of Emil Jones, Jr.'s legislation accomplishments is not having any effect, so do what you can, John McCain, to help your country once again.

Johnny Wendell

July 31, 2008 11:39 AM

is a manufactured product of Soros, moveon.org, the media and the DNC.>>

4 RW talking points in one sentence, none of them remotely true.

Just as the mindless quote Scripture to prove their "theses", so do thr worshippers of the Republican party.

How sad.

Sally in Nebraska

July 31, 2008 11:48 AM

I voted for John McCain in 2000. I admired the man for his service to our country not just in the military but also his long years in the Senate. I respected him for having a mind of his own and not just towing the party line. Up until a month ago, I still supported him. However, I've begun to realize that the McCain I thought I knew was a facade under which lays this ill-tempered, entitled, incompetent, old man. After the last 8 years of gross incompetence and dictatorship by Bush and his cronies, what scares me more is not that Obama might be muslim or that his resume is thin, but that we could possibly endure another 4 - 8 years of the same mentality, the same attitidudes, the same ideology that has almost brought this country to its knees. Therefore, John McCain will not get my vote this time around. I will seriously be considering casting my vote for Barr or even Obama.

JohnR

July 31, 2008 11:51 AM

Well, some of us see what we want to see, and some of us try to see what there is to see. None of us has perfect vision, but to be deliberately blinded by ideology is simply dumb. I'm a former Republican and another former McCain supporter, but either I was very wrong about the man (possibly), or he really sold his soul after 2000 to try to be President. Either way, it's a shame to see him reduced to this. I respected him for years.

drsteveb

July 31, 2008 11:59 AM

Most of the push-back stories on the on-again/off-again Landstuhl visit in the progressive blogosphere (and now finally some in the MSM) have focused on the McCain campaign going nuclear in their attack on Obama.

Reported initially by Joe Sudbay at AmericaBlog and Art Levine in the HuffingtonPost, but seemingly overlooked since is that this was probably a deliberate pre-meditated bait-and-switch by partisan Republican operatives operating under the guise of being DOD officials.

And as the lies about this incident spread, there still hasn't been a clear, compelling story offered to to the press about the Pentagon's double-dealing and partisan sabogating by GOP-appointed flacks.

Pentagon officials, especially a GOP flack named Bryan Whitman, are behind the ongoing anti-Obama spin that his campaign declined the visit because he couldn't bring his campaign staff or reporters with him.

Here's how he works, as noted by Americablog. Last February, Whitman sought to discredit Barack Obama's true story about an American captain who told him about his under-manned platoon in Afghanistan that didn't have enough ammunition or Humvees -- and ended up relying on weapons they captured from the Taliban.

Fast forward to July of 2008: Which Pentagon political hack is right smack in the middle of the latest manufactured controversy about Obama's visit to the troops in Germany -- a political controversy being pushed by "The Pentagon"? That's right. Bryan Whitman. Yes, apparently when the press talks about "The Pentagon" they mean Bryan Whitman -- and Whitman was quite happy to stir the pot on this one:

The Pentagon said on Friday that it did not prevent an Obama visit.
"Nobody denied Senator Obama the opportunity to visit our wounded being cared for at Landstuhl. Obviously, as a sitting senator, he has an interest in that and can certainly visit in an official capacity," said Bryan Whitman, a spokesman for the Pentagon, who added that there are "restrictions on what you can do as a candidate for political office, that stems from trying to maintain political neutrality and not have the military involved in politics."

"The senator's staff was informed of the limits on what the military can do with respect to a political campaign and how we could support a senator's visit to Landstuhl and, quite frankly, I expected them to have the visit," Whitman said.

Quite frankly, no one should believe anything Bryan Whitman says on behalf of "The Pentagon." He's a GOP political operative who has done a lot of Bush, Cheney and Rummy's dirty work from his press perch at the Pentagon for years. The guy has no compunction about engaging in politics. And, he's the one pushing this latest fake controversy. In February, Obama was right. Whitman was wrong. Same now.

The issue was muddied further while the Obama campaign waited at least a day to clarify that the scheduled visit was blocked by the Pentagon, and was still offering as late as Saturday a weak response that the candidate had, as Obama said, "a concern that maybe our visit was going to be perceived as political," and, initially, that it would be "inappropriate" to spend campaign funds to make that hospital visit.

Such responses are politically lame and tin-eared. The immediate response should have been a tough-minded assertion that they were blocked by the Pentagon, seemingly for partisan political reasons. The Obama camp, after making clear that Obama wanted to visit , should have forcefully said the Senator's planned meeting with wounded troops was blocked because of a last-minute invoking of rules by the Pentagon designed to thwart his visit, apparently for political reasons.

How much of the initial reporting came from Bryan Whitman?

How much of the initial reporting came from other Partisan Republican appointees?

How much of this was planned ahead of time, saying yes to Obama for the visit, then saying no, then blaming Obama for not going?

How much of this was coordinatd with the McCain camp, which seemd for the first time ever to be able to create an attack and respond to events faster then the Obama campaign.

Will the Press dig deeper into this... maybe some interviews of Bryan Whitman as the subject. Who is he? Why does he keep using his DOD position to falsely attack Obama?

PierreSD

July 31, 2008 12:33 PM

KChicago,

Did you not read the article? McCain was planning on bashing Obama if he had visited the troops, by saying that Obama was using wounded soldiers as campaign props.

Please explain to me how having two different plans of attack ready to go based on whether or not Obama chose to go to the soldiers' hospital is not approaching dishonesty.

allwa

July 31, 2008 12:36 PM

"Old fashioned honor and dignity"?
I'd have to give that column to Obama.
McCain has abandoned that catagory.

kravitz

July 31, 2008 12:50 PM

So any way it went, McCain was going to whine about it.

Need we be reminded that McCain was told by the Pentagon not to go either?

http://edition.cnn.com/2008/POLITICS/04/03/mccain.pentagon/index.html

slag

July 31, 2008 12:51 PM

KChicago: Try reading something for a change. For instance, that factcheck page. The footage played in the ad as it complained that Obama went to the gym instead of visiting our troops was footage of Obama playing basketball...with the troops!

I used to have a modicum of respect for McCain even though our politics have differed often. Now, that he's become Karl Rove's little toy soldier, I have nothing but contempt.

Henry H.

July 31, 2008 1:06 PM

John McCain as Maverick, National Security/Iraq War/Foreign guru, straigh talker, etc.. is all marketing myth. Over the last couple of weeks the debate has been about Iraq/Afghanistan/National Security, supposedly McCain's areas of expertise. Yet McCain certainly hasn't show himself to be head-and-shoulders above Obama in these areas; actually, quite the opposite. He has nothing else but negative attacks to rely on. Here's a direct quote from the "straight talker", John McCain: "Americans want a respectful campaign, they do, they want it. Now people say, 'Well, negative adds, they move numbers.' They may. But do we have to go to the lowest common denominator? I don't think so." And yet here we are. McCain has shown himself willing to thrown away all integrity, character, and honor in order to win the election.

lib4

July 31, 2008 1:15 PM

Quit with the "McCain used to be so charming" schtick the media keeps repeating as he goes negative. The beltway media continues to act like McCain is some innocent bystander as his campaign flacks, AT HIS DIRECTION, continue to produce childish and false negative attacks. The man has been reduced to pandering for votes amongest his newest first love...the Republican base. Republicans can go after Obama all they want but when they repeatedly lie and distort the attacks become less effective as we approach the election.

daryljfontaine

July 31, 2008 1:21 PM

The following operatives may now claim their "McCain Points­­™":

- Seattle
- BT
- KChicago
- RR/FL

Remember to check in with McSmear Central to receive the days' talking points for use on this and other open Internet discussion areas.

Save your "McCain Points­­™" to receive great swag, including the opportunity to be an invited seat-filler at McCain campaign stop appearances!

Timelagged

July 31, 2008 1:30 PM

"Obama's response on the surge still seems too grudging"

This really amazes me. So after McCain championed this invasion, the one that led to the complete and utter disaster we found ourselves in, after McCain was one of the biggest cheerleaders as is well documented on video, saying that he supports Bush utterly, saying that we will be greeted as liberators, as McCain in other words is one of the chief proponents of this debacle that has been one of the worst decisions in our history, maybe the worst---

--- why would this man even be allowed a voice in the discussion about the various ways to extricate ourselves from the catastrophe that he helped cause?

Obama is being way too kind, if you ask me, but that's political neccesity I guess. I would have him point out that debating the fine points of how to clean up this enormous mess isn't a substitute for having been one of the main voices getting us into it to begin with.

John McCain would do it AGAIN, that's the amazing part. He's stated so, openly. And this man wants credit for supporting one or another tactics in the middle of the castrophe that are debatable at best?

God help us this media is skewed, and I do mean rightward.

Shawn

July 31, 2008 1:45 PM

I'm amazed at the amount of right wing foolishness repeated on this website. What Obama did, canceling the trip to visit wounded troops, was out of respect. As soon as it became a political issue, he canceled the trip. He did not want injured troops politicized.

The McCain campaign and the Pentagon were playing dirty politics. They waited until the day before the trip to tell Obama he could not take his staff with him. As soon as this happened, the Obama camp recognized that his visit to the troops was going to be politicized so he immediately canceled. What else could he have done? If he'd gone, the McCain camp would have made political hay out of that, according to a Republican strategist.

Shame on the McCain campaign for being dishonest, for using wounded troops for political purposes and for suggesting that somehow Obama does not care about our men and women in uniform. It was a truly despicable ad, one that even the McCain campaign has backed away from.

Steve Roth

July 31, 2008 1:45 PM

The Rove attack approach worked against Kerry. But will it work this time?

McCain is coming across as frantic, desperate, bitter, and...well, if this were Hillary people would be pussyfooting around the word "shrill."

That wasn't the tone people heard in 2004.

TomT

July 31, 2008 1:53 PM

I voted for McCain in the 2000 primary. I thought he was a decent man.

I was wrong.

jetpacks

July 31, 2008 1:55 PM

Hannity is one of the biggest liars masquerading as a patriot this country has ever known. I listen to him on the way home each evening just so I can know how the other half thinks. He still repeats - daily - "Ayers, Wright, guns and Bibles." He also never misses an opportunity to take completely out of context a portion of Obama's audio book, in which the author is quoting his pastor's sermon, saying, "White folks greed runs a world in need." Hannity leaves it at that - allowing his minions to surmise that Obama wrote and believes in those words.

Sadly, this strategy is working.

It worked on my own mother, who only a few weeks ago called herself an Obamican

ronin

July 31, 2008 1:59 PM

It's about time people in the mainstream media called these people out. But the problem is hardly confined to shills like Hannity. When will you (and others) call out big media stars for their parroting of Republican propaganda? And when will anyone at all be held accountable for this crap?


Obama is the Milli Vanilla of the political set. He is a manufactured product of Soros, moveon.org, the media and the DNC.

Believe me, Soros, moveon.org, the media and the DNC aren't anywhere near that efficient.

George Smiley

July 31, 2008 2:05 PM

RR/FL

There are many analogies in your post, and several ad hominem attacks.

But strangely, there are no facts. Not one. You post contains no actual information.

Why might that be?

Casey

July 31, 2008 2:07 PM

Hannity didn't invent the repeat it, repeat it, repeat it until it becomes accepted as truthiness game strategy. That's right out of Rove's playbook, so that DOES make him a pawn of the Bush Regime.

Bush himself says the same thing on how he operates in his "line of work":

"See, in my line of work you got to keep repeating things over and over and over again for the truth to sink in, to kind of catapult the propaganda."

That's straight out of the white house:
http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2005/05/20050524-3.html

Casey
http://nobushthirdterm.com

George Smiley

July 31, 2008 2:25 PM

"Seattle" writes:

"McCain/Fiorina 08!"

Wow. This is from a Seattlite?

A hoped-for ticket: a man who by his own admission does not know how to use e-mail and is "learning" to use the web by reading his daughter's blog (he sad this in 2008!). Don't believe me?

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/uselection2008/johnmccain/2403704/John-McCain-technology-illiterate-doesnt-email-or-use-internet.html

Bear in mind that the Telegraph is the leading *consevative* paper in the UK.

But that's not enough: "Seattle" would add to this ticket the remarkable woman who destroyed (Lucent) or nearly destroyed (HP) not one but TWO* of the proudest technology companies in the United States. In both firms, she destroyed shareholder value (HP lost half of its market cap during her tenure there). In both places, she was forced out by the board of directors. But hey, she did leave with enormous golden parachutes both times.

You really know how to pick the winners, don't you?

Veteran's Wife

July 31, 2008 2:30 PM

Just a thought for all the "shoulda-coulda" types who insist on managing Senator Obama's wounded troop visits...there are wounded troops right here in the USA who would enjoy visits from YOU, Mr/Mrs/Ms Average Citizen! If you can't bring yourselves to practice what you are preaching to Senator Obama, why not put a lid on it? Try going to a veteran's hospital in your state and asking a distraught family member how YOU can be of service to them? Maybe run a few errands for them, pick up a decent meal instead of hospital cafeteria food one day, or simply bringing your age-appropriate children to see a real live hero? You'd be surprised how quickly this minor glitch in the campaign(s) would become silly and trite! Sorry to preach, but give us all a break with the "he could have gone/he should have made the effort/who does he think he is" babbling!
Make a difference yourself!

AS

July 31, 2008 2:34 PM

BT -- you can't be serious. The "he went to the gym" accusation refers to footage of Obama shooting a basketball in a gym full of soldiers he was visiting. Yet you take the intentionally spun line of "he did make time to go to the gym" and not only buy it but add your own spin, that he "disappeared in the gym" for what you presume to be a few hours. What did you base that assumption on, that generally when people go to the gym to workout they are there for a few hours? Well how long are people in gyms normally when they are visiting troops there? Care to challenge your own assumptions at all? Do you not see the absurdity of this particular accusation?

Nardwilly

July 31, 2008 2:39 PM

Honor would include honest criticism. It would not include criticism of either action the opponent takes. "Visiting troops is exploiting troops" or "Not visiting troops is hating troops." Anybody that does this is not honorable.

McCain is not honorable, never has been since he was in politics. It is all a big lie. He has been faking the whole time.

Danny

July 31, 2008 2:44 PM

Conservatism is very cult like with its constant deceptions, lies and manipulations. The emails I receive from conservatives and what I hear on FOX/Rush reflect that millions of Americans live in a false reality and the Republican Party nurtures this. They have to, or they cannot win.

Ryan

July 31, 2008 2:53 PM

Reading some of the comments above, it seems clear to me that the ad had its intended effect.

Instead of arguing over real issues that are plaguing this nation, we're all devoting tons of time and energy debating whether Obama did or did not visit the troops.

Whether Obama visited the troops in Germany, isn't the issue that confronts us in November. Get over it and start reading up on the true issues.

Kieren

July 31, 2008 2:58 PM

Obama has been to twice as many Senate votes this year as McCain, McCain never even bothered to vote on the last GI Funding bill, and McCain has never once attended a hearing on Afghanistan even though he is on the armed services committee. He only seems worried about whatever few subjects are of interest to him at any particular moment. Other "Boring Stuff" like the economy and Afghanistan apparently aren't worth his time.

Jay

July 31, 2008 3:10 PM

Obama is a heavyweight in every sense of the word. He has intellect (Harvard Law, Columbia, Occidental, U Chicago Constitutional Law Prof), character (a family man who remains faithful). He organized poor communities to do better.

McCain called his wife a [bad word inserted here]in front of reporters. What kind of person would say that to the mother of his children? Oh, I know, the kind of man who would abandon the first wife & mother of his first set of children, a woman who waited for him when he was a POW. He has no honor.

theod

July 31, 2008 3:31 PM

The so-called Hannity Strategy was perfected by Joseph Goebbels (Hitler's Karl Rove) who said, "If you tell a lie long enough and loud enough, eventually people believe it." There is really nothing new under the sun that is dirty, vil,e and vicious.

DD/FL

July 31, 2008 4:23 PM

Paid advertising molds our opinions - this is the epitome of a consumerist society. We watch inane amounts of tv, believe advertising and go out and spend, spend, spend. Our free market capitalist system brought us this warped method of evaluating candidates, no wonder the best messages aren't necessarily the most factual ones. I have to get my information by reading lots and lots of info and then triangulating. The average American is not interested enough in going through those kinds of hoops. God bless us.

Sid

July 31, 2008 4:30 PM

"...He is a manufactured product of Soros, moveon.org, the media and the DNC..." - RR/FL

Yikes!
Put the Coolaide down and back away.

JaneEyrez

July 31, 2008 4:50 PM

I wonder if McCain exhibits characteristic behavior known as the Stockholm Syndrome. There are two pictures that I can't get out of my head, his embracing Bush, which is widely shown, and his embracing a former Vietnam captor. I, too, have wondered how any person of character could even be civil to GWB after the slimey campaign he ran against McCain. Stockholm Syndrome, that behavior which makes the victim form a strange bond with their victimizer, would go a long way toward explaining his behaviors.

DB

July 31, 2008 4:57 PM

"RR/FL
July 30, 2008 10:44 AM

Obama is the Milli Vanilla of the political set. He is a manufactured product of Soros, moveon.org, the media and the DNC. His every move is carefully choreographed to give the impression of a 'real' candidate. He is as phony as a three-dollar bill. He will say/do anything to get elected, while the media swoons over his every word and spins his gaffes faster than a Maytag washing machine. Old fashioned honor and dignity cannot win out over this manufactured snake-oil salesman. Focusing on his voting record (or lack thereof), highlighting his constant flip-flops, reviewing his unsavory associations, pointing out his lack of experience and his highjacking of Emil Jones, Jr.'s legislation accomplishments is not having any effect, so do what you can, John McCain, to help your country once again."

I find your reasoning extremely interesting. Everything you say about Sen. Obama is a description of McCain. So my question is how does a person go about the "art" of glueing Sen. McCain's philosophies on Sen. Obama? Is it like screwing your eyes up real tight and plugging your ears at the same time then only hearing what you want to hear or is it accomplished by just closing your mind and not listening? My kids used to do that when they were about 3.

Will Belegon

July 31, 2008 5:11 PM

My choice was made months ago. I used to respect John McCain, until he began to dramatically alter his long-standing positions in order to pander to the GOP faithful. He can longer claim to be a maverick or an outsider. He is simply another parrot.

Remember how offended he was in the GOP debates about the US using torture? And once he secures the nomination he votes to authorize waterboarding?

I'm sorry, I can't respect that.

spinn

July 31, 2008 5:37 PM

Yay for calling a lie a lie. Seems like that's limited to online postings, though--I'm really waiting for something in print to stop saying "apparent falsehood" or "not accurate" or some other softer phrase for "he's lying." I don't understand why the resistance to saying a public figure is lying.

Kate

July 31, 2008 5:53 PM

I wouldn't have minded if McCain had won the nomination in 2000, back then he was a man I could respect at least if I didn't always agree with him.

There's no way I'd vote for McCain 2.0('08). A proven liar, in the White House? Again? No thanks.

Tim

July 31, 2008 6:01 PM

This is baloney. Provide some actual evidence of a prepared ad criticizing Obama for visiting the troops, and I'll believe it. Until then, don't float anonymous and unsubstantiated rumors. Did McCain--or anyone--criticize Obama for visiting the troops in Iraq? Did he criticize Obama for visiting troops in the US? Obama could have visited on his own, out of the limelight, and no one would have complained at all. He chose not to. The whole European love-fest was all about pictures, and when there was no opportunity for visuals with the wounded troops, he decided not to go.

The reason it's so believable is because it's typical of him. Be honest. We know the left has a deep antipathy toward the military. Again, be honest. We know this is the case. We know that Obama is a product of the left; he can spout all the lofty words he wants, but at the same time he has absorbed the left's suspicion and even dislike of the military. That's why belittles the accomplishments of the military by giving the credit for the turnaround to Iran and the Anbar Awakening (not realizing that it was the military that made that Awakening happen). They are simply not a high priority for him.

Is the McCain ad dishonest? I don't think so. I think it perfectly captures the problem with Obama.

Also, when it comes to mudslinging, remember all the venom that went back and forth between Obama and Hillary--and then try to tell me with a straight face that Republicans are the only mudslingers. Give me a break.

Finally, consider Obama's claim that McCain wants the war to go on for 100 years. Is this not a lie? OF COURSE it's a lie. What McCain said was clear: he wouldn't mind if we had a long-term military base in Iraq, as we do in other countries, as long as they are not still in combat. Obama knows exactly what McCain was saying--and yet he claims that McCain wants the war to go on for 100 years. So tell me who's the liar.

Todd

July 31, 2008 7:59 PM

"disappeared in the gym"?

Are you serious? I wonder who all those people in uniforms were standing around him when he swished that 3-pointer?

Yup, it was a lie and you know it.

Andy

July 31, 2008 9:57 PM

"RR/FL", you need new anti-Obama talking points. You're reciting Bob Owen's February 2008 column in "Pajamas Media", while completely ignoring the shameful substance of McCain's advertisements.

The fact that McCain -- and his supporters, like you -- are now resorting exclusively to lies and negative campaigning instead of finding positive things to say about McCain himself shows how little McCain has to offer America.

Totto

July 31, 2008 11:05 PM

Senator Hothead is a chump showing signs of dementia.

Gilberto Gil

July 31, 2008 11:42 PM

Well...some of the comments here illustrate exactly what this article is about. Despite the FACTS that have now shown McCain's ad to be false, some commenters insist is was true. These people are not interested in the truth, they only want to hear the things that fit into their preconceived ideas about Obama, and anything that may contradict these preconceptions are ignored. Obama visits troops at Walter Reed regulary (I know this because my brother-in-law is an army captain who is injured and is currently being treated there, and he told me Obama came by 4 times since April 2008), and he visited injured troops in Iraq, yet some commenters still insist on "He refuses to visit our troops".
Let me ask you self-righteous people a question: How many hours do YOU spend volunteering at your local veterans' hospital??

asc

August 1, 2008 12:44 AM

Hey, RR/FL: If you use the same sound bytes as all the other sycophants, people start to notice - particularly when most of them can be turned around on your own candidate or are patently false.

For example, because of the way he lined right up with the establishment and resorted to these tactics, one could say that McCain is a manufactured product of the GOP establishment. He obviously lacks "old fashioned honor and dignity" (see above), and has quite an extensive list of flip-flops himself.

You should stick with anything that can't be proven one way or the other - baseless attacks, FUD and fearmongering. Also, you need to go after the low information demographic at home instead of in a political discussion on the internet - how many of them do you think end up here, much less actually read the comments?

Steve J.

August 1, 2008 2:09 AM

HANNITY TELLS THE TRUTH
(h/t DU)

It's certainly not news that Hannity is a highly-paid gasbag for conservatives but it is news when he admits it! Faiz at ThinkProgress has this great catch1:

GIULIANI: I think -- first of all, it's different being a mayor and being a presidential candidate, and I think that you're going to find that in both cases and Senator McCain -- a lot of the attacking is going to be done by surrogates. And they're going to -- well, I mean.

HANNITY: People like me.

SOURCE:
http://thinkprogress.org/2008/06/12/hannity-the-mccain-surrogate/

Damian

August 1, 2008 3:33 AM

Geez, RR/FL, you sound like a comment bot with all those stock right-wing attacks.

Anyhow, McCain's getting desperate for ground, and he and his campaign know it. He's trying to do anything he can to woo people away - and when he gets his butt burned, he just complains that nobody likes him.

McCain's campaign is more of the same.

BSDetector

August 1, 2008 5:30 AM

After what George W. Bush did to McCain in South Carolina 2000, watching the sloppy kiss McCain gave dear leader in 2004 did it for me.

McCain showed his true colors right then. And they aren't red white and blue.

Respect? How can you have respect for a man who doesn't have respect for himself?

nuQlerOstrich

August 1, 2008 5:42 AM

John McCain, the foreign policy expert.

Yeah? The foreign policy expert who doesn't know the difference between Shia and Sunni?

The foreign policy expert who doesn't know the difference between Syria and Sudan?

The foreign policy expert who thinks Czechoslovakia is still a country?

The foreign policy expert who sees a border between Iraq and Afghanistan?

I think Brit Hume had it right when he called the earliest of these recent gaffes as a McCain "Senior Moment." Perhaps that should have been plural, "frequent senior moments".

Can America risk McCain's FREQUENT SENIOR MOMENTS from the Oval Office?

Debra Schrishuhn

August 1, 2008 7:38 AM

The John McCain myth is finally cracking open. The media and Republican operatives go on and on about how we don't know who Barack Obama is--maybe we don't really know who John McCain is--John McCain of the Keating Five, who got off with a reprimand from the Congressional Ethics committee; John McCain, who likes to shoot craps in Las Vegas, and does so enough to command a "private room" for the activity; John McCain, whose campaign is still laced with lobbyists, former "Swift Boat Veterans for Truth," and other unsavory characters...

Who is John McCain, really? How can we trust his word when he changes his position on major issues like tax cuts (for the wealthy and for corporations), says he won't raise payroll taxes one day and the next says that all options are on the table regarding Social Security, opposes off-shore drilling and then supports it (despite the limited good it would do 10-15 years from now and ignoring the damage caused to drilling rigs by recent hurricanes in the Gulf of Mexico)?

Who is John McCain really? He approved those scurrilous ads riddled with half-truths, outright lies, and racial innuendo. He attacks Sen. Obama's character, patriotism, judgment, and leadership ability daily after promising to run a respectful campaign.

Who is John McCain really? Maybe this is the real John McCain--ethically challenged, unwilling to maintain positions for political expediency, and willing to utter untruths and approve outright lies and practice the divisive politics of the past.

We need a change from the same old Republican policies and politics of fear.

Terri

August 1, 2008 9:27 AM

BT - Paragraph four (Detailed below) of this article refers to undeducated white people:-

"This ad asserts a McCain campaign talking-point that Obama wouldn’t make time for wounded troops unless cameras were allowed to follow him, but did make time to work out at a gym. This, of course, is a lie. It’s a blatant lie. Steve Schmidt, a disciple of Karl Rove’s who worked on George W. Bush’s 2004 ad/communications effort, though, is playing the Rovian playbook that says that it doesn’t matter if it’s true as long as your target audience (non-college educated white working class voters) won’t bother to find out the actual truth, and believe that it “sounds like it might be a true.”

You have just proven this exact point. You believe Obama went to the gym because that is what McCain told you, so it's true. When in fact is has been proven that it is not true. That McCain and his campaign are liars. The jumpshot shown in the ad is taken at the venue where Obama had just spoken with troops and then took the jumpshot. The troops in the back have been blurred so you can't see who they are. Maybe McCain is not so stupid after all - He does seem know his uneducated white low class voters and how they they think or rather do no think and that will swallow everything he says. Aaah to be so uneducated and so blissfully unaware. Might I suggest you go and join up and go and fight the Bush Iraq war.

MBirchmeier

August 1, 2008 9:53 AM

@BT: I hope you're realizing you're being part of the problem...

The lie wasn't that he didn't visit the troops, the lie was the reasons, that "he couldn't bring cameras", while the actual reason was he was asked not to go by the pentagon, because he would be using the troops as props. BHO had already been on other troop visits during the portion of his trip when he was acting as a senator.

This might seem like a trivial distinction to you, but take the following statement "Presidential candidate X did not admonish his fellow soldiers for using flamethrowers on Vietnamese children" While this is likely a factual statement, it's true because his fellow soldiers didn't use flamethrowers on children, not because X wouldn't have been offended.

From Kiley: Not sure what you are talking about. The lie is the reason cited by the Republicans and implied in the ad. And that's what I said.

Bob

August 1, 2008 11:05 AM

I was gonna vote for McCain. For the last 2 weeks he has just been off his rocker though.

Good thing he let his guard down and showed us what he's really all about.

OH

August 1, 2008 11:15 AM

Loser McCain is a disgrace, he supports Bush, not much longer - any day now - Loser McCain is going to get caught air-brushing Barack Obamas picture to make his skin look darker - what a farce.

just4fun

August 1, 2008 3:53 PM

Mccains new ad today is brilliant! All about the "blessed one" here to "remake the world", wonder if he can do that in less than 7 days? Cultist and wingnuts surround Obama the last hope for the world in need, white folks in greed. read his books trolls, the man in an apostate and a Black theologist, his mentor wright has a even more marxist mentor dr. cone....look it up. read obams's books, then make your ridiculous statement.

MPinFlorida

August 1, 2008 7:20 PM

I believe we are just seeing his true colors coming out. He must be desperate to be President.

ormolu611

August 2, 2008 1:24 AM

The facts are simple. The McCain campaign, and McCain himself, realize that they cannot beat Obama on policy or on any real substantive matter. So what do they do? They try to cut him down with the most asinine, inane, and childish "attacks" that I have ever seen. I agree with Obama - "This is the best that McCain can come up with?" oh brother......

George Smiley

August 2, 2008 1:25 AM

Just4fun: "Mccains new ad today is brilliant! All about the "blessed one" here to "remake the world", wonder if he can do that in less than 7 days? Cultist and wingnuts surround Obama the last hope for the world in need, white folks in greed. read his books trolls, the man in an apostate and a Black theologist, his mentor wright has a even more marxist mentor dr. cone....look it up. read obams's books, then make your ridiculous statement."

Again: this is a post of no substance. It is a post without a single fact, but plenty of ad hominem. It is a post typed by someone who cannot write a sentence.

The question is whether "Just4fun" realizes that he is *not* making his candidate, or that candidate's supporters, look good...

Verdeuno

August 2, 2008 10:35 AM

I sent in another donation. I'll be damned if I will set back and let "them" steal another one. This is my Country as much as any one's and the back stabbing low riding Republican machine will not take it away again. If the Republican party takes this one We the people need to just pack up and move to Canada or declare war on this election and start standing up for our civil liberties (like knowing your vote is really being counted)...don't start loading the guns...open up those check books and beat them at their own game...don't let corporate America steal another election, fight back send in those donations and volunteer...stop arguing and let the donation do it for you...if not Obama in '08 then it's Canada for me another Republican President and life in the USA will continue a downward spiral. If they can scare you they can control you, wake up people this ain't going to be easy but it can be done GET INVOLVED NOW! Do it for yourself...be empowered become part of the movement in getting our Country back.


"I can feel guilty about the past, apprehensive about the future, but only in the present can I act. The ability to be in the present moment is a major component of mental wellness."


Abraham Maslow

Chris Longo

August 2, 2008 6:05 PM

Eight years ago McCain was too old and too unstable to be president.
The Republican Party decided he was not their candidate. I would say now that he is 8 more years too old to be our president and still too unstable.
He has a lot of experience being a prisoner of war but not much experience at leading troops into battle. Wesley Clark made this point a couple of weeks ago.
A man of character would have stayed with his disfigured wife; not divorce her and marry a rich young woman. A man of character would not have done that. He has no character.

true patriot

August 4, 2008 5:01 PM

Wake up, Americans! For once, become CITIZENS and not just consumers and spectators.

This is an important election. Put away your personal likes and dislikes. Stop being told what to think, and think for yourself like an adult.

Check out the following background info. Don’t take my word for it.

• John McCain graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1958. His class ranking was 894th out of 899; in other words, fifth from the bottom of his class. The main reason he didn't flunk out was because his father
was a four-star Admiral. (It's not a career move to flunk the son of a four-star Admiral).


If elected President, John McCain will be our oldest President ever. Not only is John McCain very old, but also he is a very "high-mileage" old person. He is not young for his age. His father died as a result of a stroke at the age of 70. His grandfather died of a heart attack at the age of 68.

And this from http://www.thetruthseeker.co.uk/article.asp?ID=8751


• Ted Sampley, who fought with US Special Forces in Vietnam and is now a leading campaigner for veterans’ rights, said: ‘I have been following John McCain’s career for nearly 20 years. I know him personally. There is something wrong with this guy and let me tell you what it is – deceit.

‘When he came home and saw that Carol was not the beauty he left behind, he started running around on her almost right away. Everybody around him knew it.

‘Eventually he met Cindy and she was young and beautiful and very wealthy. At that point McCain just dumped Carol for something he thought was better.

‘This is a guy who makes such a big deal about his character. He has no character. He is a fake. If there was any character in that first marriage, it all belonged to Carol.’


This is not the kind of guy I want to have leading this nation.

I would love to hear DOCUMENTED facts about Obama’s character that would disqualify him. I’ve searched and not come up with anything.

Ronny

August 5, 2008 3:07 PM

Turns out John Mcain didnt go see the troops either on his European tour. John Mcain voted against every bill that benefits the american troops. Mcain pushed to get France's Airbus an air defense contract even though an American company made a lower bid on the project. Good going Mcain. That's why most veteran groups dont support you. Also turns out John Mcain did have an Ad mocking Obama on a 100 dollar bill. This was 30 days ago. Look it up. It guess Barack just out "exotic" for us Americans.

Conservative Not NeoCon

October 6, 2008 4:43 PM

I come from a family of conservatives (myself an independent moderate conservative the rest are older Republicans who worked on the Nixon campaign team in the 60's and are now NeoCons) we differ greatly on several subjects but agree on Palin, she is a liability to McCain and although they are loyal towards McCain (being typical NeoCons) I'm going with Obama Biden. McCain lost my respect long ago with his Low Road Express. Palin is a vacuous politician who's agenda is purely for the good of her and her first dude, Todd. She failed to promote McCain in the debates and she continues to fail him. But McCain failed America when he chose her.

james

October 27, 2008 7:59 AM

Subject Line: Beat Long Poll Lines with Absentee Ballots from StateDemocracy.org
Many state and local election officials are encouraging voters to use Absentee Ballots to avoid the long lines and delays expected at the polls on November 4th due to the record-breaking surge in newly registered voters.
Voters in most states still have time to obtain an Absentee Ballot by simply downloading an official application form available through www.StateDemocracy.org, a completely FREE public service from the nonprofit State Democracy Foundation.
Read More: http://us-2008-election.blogspot.com/2008/10/beat-long-poll-lines-with-absentee.html

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News, opinions, inflammatory meanderings and occasional ravings about the world of advertising, marketing and media. By marketing editor Burt Helm, Innovation Editor Helen Walters, and senior correspondent Michael Arndt.

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